Disney Grants Religious Accommodation To Sikh Worker

| by Maura Turcotte

Gurdit Singh is finally getting his happily ever after at Walt Disney World after years of working a mail route that kept him away from park guests.

Singh, as a devout Sikh, wears a turban and beard. When he was hired by Disney in 2008 as a mail carrier, he was notified he would only be able to deliver mail on a route that hides him from the rest of the Florida park. He was told his appearance violated the “Look Policy” of Disney World, The Huffington Post reports.

Although carriers at Disney rotate their routes every several weeks, Singh was restricted to delivering mail just to the corporate offices — a much heavier load than everyone else’s. Because of the “Look Policy,” Singh could not advance in his job. As a result, Singh felt debased simply because of his religion.

After working under these conditions at the park for seven years, Singh is now free from these restrictions. After the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sikh Coalition wrote a letter to Disney World on Singh’s behalf, the park granted religious accommodation to him. Singh can now work any of the routes, reports the The Tribune.

In a comment the ACLU explained, "Because Disney is a major multinational corporation, its decision to grant Singh a religious accommodation is an important step forward in achieving workplace equality for Sikhs and others of minority faiths, and Disney should be applauded."

Disney's decision comes shortly after another victory in workplace religious freedom: The Supreme Court recently ruled 8 to 1 in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch, deciding that "an employer may not make an applicant's religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions,” The Northwest Indiana Times reports. Simply put, this ruling will prevent future religious discrimination when companies are hiring.

Sources: The Huffington Post, Northwest Indiana Times, The Tribune / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons